Usa Today: Madonna's new album is full of 'Heart'
Our most durable pop star has indeed reinvented elements of her look and sound repeatedly over the past 30 years, but Madonna has retained the same essence: that of a woman who champions and demands love, in every sense of that loaded word. No single artist has been more crucial in shaping our modern view of celebrities as people who need people — and attention.
As that view has metastasized into an expectation that artists share ever more of their personal and creative lives, fame's double-edged sword has grown a bit sharper. Madonna felt it last December, when two batches of early recordings from the Heart sessions — essentially, an album in progress — were leaked online. Her immediate response was to quickly polish remixes of the first bunch, and make them available to those who pre-ordered the album.
Ghosttown mixes a disarmingly earnest sweetness with a stark, chilly arrangement, while on Heartbreak City, Madonna lashes out at a former lover over a shuffling hip-hop groove. The defiant exuberance of first single Living For Love gives way to the deceptively gentle, powerfully infectious Body Shop, with its tinkering rhythms and sly innuendo.
There are more graphic references to sex, and two song titles include a mild an expletive. A disciple, Nicki Minaj, pops up on the frisky B---ch I'm Madonna, in which the titular star chants, "You're gonna love this. ... You can't touch this." Madonna could be parodying followers — some of whom have absorbed her through Minaj and other younger stars — who have been inspired by her confidence and marketing savvy but are often less intuitive about things like desire and pain, be it their own or others'.
Download: HeartBreak City, Body Shop, Veni Vidi Vici, Ghosttown.